Akure is the beautiful capital of Ondo-State in south-western Nigeria. Although this city hosts a majority of administrative and economic activities in the state and parades a more cosmopolitan outlook, there is no denying the fact that Akure is also a tourism hotbed yet to be exploited. The city’s over 400,000 residents are predominately Yoruba and characteristically hospitable. Unlike some other capital cities, Akure has easily navigable tarred road, beautiful landscape and a comeback ambience.
History records that Akure was established by one of the children of Oduduwa. The name of the city itself is significant as it tells the city’s history. Oral tradition holds that the sons of Oduduwa had migrated from Ile Ife at Ita Aje hoping to establish their own city. One of them had got to the location today called Akure where his bead (Akun) snapped. This he considered a sign from Olodumare (god) directing him to establish a city at the site. To snap in Yoruba means: re, while the bead the prince wore at the time is called: Akun. The name of the city thus came from the act of the bead snapping. Akun re (bead has snapped). Overtimes, a corrupt though convenient pronunciation emerged as Akure.
Just as its name, the city is rich in history and offers an idle place to relax and have fun.
What really welcomes you to Akure is not just the signature signpost with “welcome to Akure” at the entry points; rather, it is a touch on the long stretch of road called the Oba-Adesida/Oyemekun road! You really cannot point out where the road starts or end, but while on it, you will have the real feel of Akure. There is an overhead bridge at the middle of the road, ensure you use it to have a good view of the city hub. By the right side of the bridge is the popular Oja Oba Market (King’s Market), here you can shop for almost everything you need. To the left of the bridge is the city mosque, for a predominantly Christian society, this mosque is big enough. There are in-house staff here who will gladly take you in on a guided tour especially if you are a Muslim. Close to the mosque is the Freedom Park. Political rallies and other public events hold here, when no event is on, the spot is used mainly as a car park. The Deji’s Palace is right opposite the Oba’s market. You must see this monument while in town; the statues and frescoes at the entrance bear tales of what is inside the palace. The Akure City hall and the Cultural Centre (Adegbemile) are popular spots for film shows during holidays. There is a gallery at the Cultural Centre where great Artworks are exhibited.
There are hotels and bars where you can find dishes both local and continental. Rice, beans and starch-rich food such as Eba (made from cassava flour locally called gari), Fufu (also made from cassava) and Amala (made from Yam or Cassava flour) are regularly available at many of the local eateries. However, the ideal local meal in Akure is Ọjọjọ. This food is made with water yam, grained and fried like a bean cake. Pakolo is another local delicacy made from water yam. The yam is washed and water is drained, before its wrapped in banana leaves and cooked. The cooked produce is then sliced and mixed with cooking stew. Egbidi, Pakere, Ekuru Ogbede and Owowo are other local meals.